ESPN Experts List Favorites for Defensive Player of the Year…Where’s Ben Simmons?
In a recent ESPN article, the “experts” at ESPN broke down who they believe should win NBA awards this season. Immediately, I thought okay great – Ben Simmons will finally get some credit for the elite improvements he made over the shortened season on the defensive side of the ball.
Of course, the national media proved me wrong yet again. The only spot where he is even mentioned is at the bottom as a “player that has received votes”. Terrible.
Ben Simmons has built a strong case this year, in almost all defensive categories, to win Defensive Player of the Year.
(The Liberty Line’s Process to Progress Sixers podcaster Kevin McCormick wrote a fantastic article about this previously here.)
- First in total steals (115)
- First in steals per game (2.1)
- Second in total deflections (216)
- Third in deflections per game (4.0)
- 106.9 defensive rating
Ben Simmons’ numbers against the NBA’s elite offensive talents are also impressive. He shut down almost every single All-Star caliber player he matched up against. The Liberty Line’s Victor Williams broke it down perfectly:
FG% while defended by Ben Simmons this year:
Trae Young: 18%
LeBron James: 22%
Pascal Siakam: 26%
Jayson Tatum: 27%
Russell Westbrook: 30%
James Harden: 33%
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) February 19, 2020
Not only should he be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year, he should be considered the winner.
Ben Simmons’s ranks in 2019-20:
1st in steals (115)
1st in steals per game (2.1)
2nd in deflections (216)
3rd in deflections per game (4)
Here are some of his best steals of the season pic.twitter.com/nFb8cLN44i
— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) May 5, 2020
ESPN for whatever reason, simply refuses to give Ben Simmons any type of credit, and would rather focus on his unwillingness to shoot. Am I surprised? Not really.